John McDermott (golfer)

John McDermott (golfer)

:"This article is about John McDermott, the golfer. For the English footballer, see John McDermott (English footballer).

John J. McDermott Jr. (August 8, 1891 – August 2, 1971) was the first U.S. born golfer to win the U.S. Open.

McDermott was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first sixteen Opens had all been won by British golfers who had learned the game in England or Scotland, and visited the United States to play in tournaments, or in most cases, were resident in the U.S. as club professionals. By 1910 the U.S. was starting to produce its own professionals in quantity. McDermott was an alumnus of the Philadelphia caddie sheds and he lost out in a playoff to Alex Smith in that year's U.S. Open. The following year he won the Open by three shots at the Chicago Golf Club, and he remains the youngest U.S. Open Champion of all time at 19 years, 10 months and 12 days. In 1912 he retained his title at the Country Club of Buffalo in New York State. He shot 294 for four rounds on a par 74 course, making him the first man to break par for seventy two holes.

In 1913, McDermott won the Western Open, then the second most prestigious professional tournament in the United States. He also won the Philadelphia Open Championship three times: 1910, 1911, and 1913.

In 1914, McDermott visited the United Kingdom to compete in the British Open but he arrived too late to play. On his way home his ship collided with another vessel and he spent some time in a lifeboat before being rescued. Shortly after getting home he blacked out when entering the clubhouse at the golf club in Atlantic City where he was the club professional. He spent the rest of his life in mental hospitals and rest homes or living with his family in Philadelphia, suffering from mental illness. He never played golf again.

Although McDermott was the first American U.S. Open champion, it is Francis Ouimet's 1913 victory which is most often cited as the key event which sparked widespread interest in golf in the United States. McDermott defeated Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in the 1913 Shawnee Open, although they were not playing as deliberately, but it was Ouimet's U.S. Open win later that year in a three-man playoff against Vardon and Ray (widely regarded as the best golfers in the world at the time) which caused a dramatic rise in Americans' interest in golf.

External links

* [ SoHG Resorces on McDermott]
* [ McDermott's sad tale after Open win]

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